Lu Watters: Blues Over Bodega

By on Jan 14, 2013 in Poetry

Lu Watters superimposed over Bodega Bay

Louis Armstrong called him
the greatest cornet player
in the history of Dixieland,
but he’d retired
by the time I met him.
Lu and I drank cheap sherry
out of gallon bottles
and talked about literature.
He was a Henry Miller fan.

Lu drove north to Anderson
the year I taught there.
He was having an affair
with a red-head who claimed
she was descended from
the Lost Continent of Mu.

I remember Lu standing
in a fine rain, practicing,
preparing for a comeback
in a canyon west of Anderson,
the notes echoing around us.
He wanted to raise money
to stop the construction
of a nuclear power plant
at Bodega Bay, and he did.

When my wife met him
a decade and a half later
she said, “He looks like
he might have been
someone once.” He was
smoking marijuana
to alleviate the pain
from prostate cancer,
his hands shaking,
still drinking sherry.
“He was someone,” I said.


Arthur Winfield Knight has published three books of poems and eight novels, as well as more than 3,000 poems, short stories and film reviews in magazines and anthologies. His poems and stories have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish and Turkish.